How Emotions Affect Viral Campaigns

In Marketing, Viral Marketing by Compass Creative TeamLeave a Comment

Wondering how emotions affect viral campaigns?

Getting people to care will make them share and pass on message no matter what the message is.

Emotions drive people to share but not all emotions count equally. There are both positive and negative emotions which can be solicited about subjects or products. Happiness and contentment, for example, are considered positive emotions, while anger and envy are thought of as negative. You you may think that people prefer to choose to share positive emotional content, but research shows that negative emotion is a powerful driver to get people sharing, too.

Angry news articles and political rants are some of the most shared subjects online. Humor is another big motivator of sharing as the many shared funny clips from YouTube can attest to. When you dig deeper into the reasons why people share and you analyze the data, it becomes evident that it is not just positive or negative emotions or content which is driving sharing. It’s the level of arousal and engagement one experiences with a subject rather that is really is the major driver of content.

When thinking about how to apply emotion in your campaigns and in your content to get people to share more, you need to kindle the fire. You want to stoke the emotions and get people to feel something about your product or service. Of course, you still wish to attach good feelings to your product or service, but when it comes to getting people to share your content you need to find other ways of motivating them to do so. You need to think outside the norm, outside the box of complacency and standard approach. It’s not enough to make people feel good, you need to make them feel activated, positive but in an action orientated mindset.

Equally important, while emotions that are high arousal states like anger, excitement, awe, inspiration, and anxiety drive people into action and sharing, it’s important to know that low arousal emotions actually decrease sharing. So you must be careful not to elicit that inadvertently.

A simple example is if you take the difference in the state of anger and sadness. An angry person wants to take action, to do something that will influence events. While in sadness a person tends to withdraw from society, become less engaged, more internalized. So if you are using sadness to drive awareness and content sharing perhaps you need to find a way to solicit anger. Or, perhaps, humor or some other emotional trigger will move people from a low arousal state to a high arousal one. You have to find a way to get people fired up so they take action.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • How can you move people from being content only to being excited?
  • How can you inspire emotions like awe that drive people to take action and pass your message on?
  • How can you use humour to get your content across?

Emotion is a great motivator! Getting people to care will make them share more, but focus on high arousal emotions and they will be more likely to pass the message on. If people are excited, angry or anxious they are more likely they are to take action. The action of sharing is exactly what you want when getting people to take content viral.


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